Earlier this month, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee - a panel of cross-party MPs that holds the Department to account in the UK Parliament - published their much anticipated report on Reimagining where we live: cultural placemaking and the levelling up agenda.
We are pleased to see the parliamentary Committee has included several policy recommendations proposed by Culture Commons in their latest report to the UK Government. The recommendations seek to support the cultural life of communities across the nation, address regional disparities and support the creative workforce.
Trevor MacFarlane, Culture Commons Director, said:
This important report from the Committee follows an extensive inquiry looking at whether funding for cultural initiatives has been reaching areas that historically have missed out, and the role creative talent and businesses can play in revitalising public spaces post-pandemic. These are policy areas that Culture Commons has been working on with partners for some time now, so it's good to see the Committee incorporating some of our proposals into their thinking. We look forward to working with the Committee further and for the UK Government's response to their report in due course.
You can read all the evidence that Culture Commons submitted to the DCMS Committee in February 2022 alongside our research partners at the Centre for Cultural Value here.
We are also pleased to see several policy recommendations Culture Commons developed following our work on the Centre for Cultural Value's 'Culture in Crisis' research project has also informed the Committee's thinking, specifically on pandemic recovery. You can read all of those Covid-19 recommendations here.
From a creative workforce perspective, we have long advocated for better working conditions, including through our highly impactful Creative Workforce Pledge campaign, which has paved the way for Creative UK's ongoing work on a 'Freelance Charter' - another of the key recommendation Culture Commons made at and event in the UK Parliament in May this year. We're pleased to see the Committee taking such a thoughtful approach to supporting workers in their latest report too.
We'll continue to work with colleagues in DCMS and in local authorities on place-based interventions that could support the creative and cultural life of communities right across the UK. In particular, our recently published paper on Creative Improvement Districts adds to the ongoing conversation around culture-led regeneration, and we will continue to work with Combined Authority partners across England on our Culture Forum concept too.
If you would like to know more about Culture Commons' evidence to the DCMS Committee, or any of the projects referenced in this post, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Main conclusions & recommendations from the Select Committee's report
Cultural placemaking – the role of arts, culture and heritage in shaping the places where we live
Funding and support for arts and culture emulates the broader geographic disparities across the UK. Outside London and the South East, there are areas still not receiving the necessary investment to support their own local and world-class institutions while, in London and the South East, grassroots organisations in deprived areas are experiencing serious financial risk due to a handful of organisations receiving significant proportions of public funding.
The Government and Arts Council England should separate funding for national institutions from local and regional institutions and ensure that national cultural organisations have different conditions of public funding, including increasing access to nationwide audiences and supporting grassroots organisations.
The Government should consider how to support arts and culture through means other than one-off funds, such as sustainable public funding settlements and by encouraging private investment.
The cost-of-living crisis poses an existential threat to the cultural, sporting and media organisations at the centre of communities. The Government must bring forward targeted support, such as through VAT or business rate relief.
Participation and social mobility
It is a matter of serious concern that despite the UK’s status as home to successful, world-renowned creative industries, the sector is experiencing a significant and ongoing national skills shortage.
Funding bodies, such as the Arts Council and Historic England, should ensure the sector works to improve working conditions.
The Committee is concerned that cultural education is seen as of lesser importance to the curriculum, feeding negative perceptions of careers in the creative industries. The Government should ensure the long-term viability of schools that provide vocational, industry-backed qualifications.
The Government should support the development of a network of hubs providing cultural spaces, workspaces and free, fast internet access in places most in need of levelling up in order to modernise library service provision.
You can download a full copy of the DCMS Select Committee report here: